Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hi there! I just got finished writing some of the text for a new interpretive sign in the Blomquist Garden, and I thought I might share a bit with you. With each new garden area we develop within the Blomquist Garden, we incorporate some type of informational signage to help visitors appreciate the area. As we near completion on the wildlife garden, I've been thinking alot about how to convey to the public how important gardening for wildlife is. For me, it's a lens that I look through for all the gardening I do in the Blomquist. I try to make sure that every new design incorporates the idea of food, water and shelter for insects, birds and mammals. I do this because it gives me another chance to reference this topic with visitors wherever we are in the garden. Insects feed birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Insects, birds and mammals provide plant species with pollination and seed dispersal services. Plants provide insects, birds, mammals, etc with food as well as shelter in the form of nesting materials or places for insects to develop between life stages. We rely on plants for everything. We'd die without them, and thus it's in our best interests to maintain healthy ecosystems by maintaining plant diversity. One of the ways we can do this is by helping maintain the diversity of the wildlife species that plants depend on. Please, garden for wildlife by adding plant species to your landscape that supply their needs. Each of us can make a difference-really. For a great book on this topic, pick up a copy of "Bringing Nature Home" by Doug Tallamy. Also, feel free to contact me through the blog with questions or comments on this or any other native plant related topic. Till next time....

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hi all! A few days have passed since my last entry- my how time flies when you have two kids with the flu.... I wanted to give a hearty thank you to my two tough tour attendees last Thursday. We walked the Blomquist Garden and talked about many of the issues affecting birds in our local wild habitats and gardens. It was most likely below twenty degrees with the wind chill, so a big hats off to you both. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the next tour will be on March 5th, and will focus on the early botanical explorers that so many of our natives are named for, and the latin naming system used by them all to describe the wondrous plants they found.

I also want to say welcome to those visitors who learned of this blog through the NC Native Plant Society website. This is a great, well-run organization that does a lot of good work for native plants. If you are not familiar with them, visit the website to learn more.

As I'm in the process of doing the final design work on our new Wildlife Garden, I thought I might mention a few nurseries that I use that have a good selection of natives for attracting our local birds and insects. For great native perennials, I am very partial to Niche Gardens ( Most of my native shrubs and small trees come from either Carolina Native Nursery , Rarebird Nursery 919-853 3969, or Cure Nursery You can also get links to these and others at the NC Native Plant Society website in their sources section-

Till next time..

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Where's the snow? I woke up this morning at 5am like a third grader and peeked out the window to see how much white stuff we had gotten.....NOTHING!!!??? Seems to be story of our lives the last few years; folks to the south and north get the winter wonderland and we're left wondering what did we do to deserve this? (At least that's what my boys were thinking when they got up this morning- no doubt they had the day planned out in their heads: throw snowballs, play video games, eat- repeat till dark). Oh well, life goes on in the garden, snow or no snow. The stream in our "under-construction" wildlife garden is almost complete. Come by next week to see it flowing-probably Thursday or Friday. Planting will begin soon after, with a heavy dose of Viburnums, Hawthorns, Hollies, and other bird and insect attractors. We also have a new feeding station near the Pitcher Plant bridge (just south of the Endangered Species garden). The bridge has footrests for sitting and watching the birds and other wildlife come to eat and drink. My Blomquist crystal ball also tells me that in the next month on this blog will debut the Blomquist Botanical Cinema (BBC). Short informational movies produced by and starring yours truly (I got the bug in"L'il Abner" in junior high, and i've been looking for an avenue back to the stage ever since). The subject matter will be ecologically eclectic, with a heavy dose of Invasive Species management, Endangered Species education, and Gardening for Wildlife. Just remember, we have no makeup artists here at the Duke Gardens, so please no comments about my hairdo, etc.

Oh yes, just a heads up- the March 5th "Walk on the Wild Side" tour in the Blomquist Garden will focus on the early botanists who helped identify many of our native plant species, with an introduction to botanical latin thrown in to help us speak their language. Hope to see you there.